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VOD Review: Eat Wheaties!

May 18, 2021

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The fairly entertaining dark comedy Eat Wheaties! is one of those quirky indie films that is built around such an oddball premise that it pretty much automatically piques your interest.

Written and directed by Scott Abramovitch, and inspired by Michael Kun’s book The Locklear Letters which focused on a man’s communication with a different actress, the film follows a socially awkward man who inadvertently ends up being accused of stalking Elizabeth Banks when he starts obsessively messaging her on Facebook.

The man in question is Sid Straw (Tony Hale), a middle-aged guy who works for a software company and is so desperate for people to like him that he can often come across as overbearing. When Sid is hired to help organize the college reunion for his alma mater Penn State, he goes online to discover the Facebook page of his former classmate, the famous actress Elizabeth Banks.

Realizing his claim to fame of having gone to school with a celebrity, Sid starts messaging her, signing off every post with the phrase “eat wheaties!,” an in-joke from their college days. At first, Sid just asks for a signed picture to give to his brother (David Walton) as a birthday gift, but he soon takes it too far and keeps messaging her, until her agent (Sarah Chalke) takes notice. As Sid desperately tries to prove that he is not crazy by obsessively seeking proof that he actually knew Banks, he damages his reputation even further and ends up in serious financial and legal trouble.

A lot of the humour here is of the uncomfortable variety, built around Sid’s awkward social interactions, and it tonally doesn’t always land. The film itself isn’t mean-spirited, per se, but the interactions that Sid has with others are often mean, and there is only so much entertainment value to be found in watching people belittle him. It can get tiring to watch the supporting characters being genuinely cruel to him. In particular, Sid’s pregnant sister-in-law (Elisha Cuthbert) is incredibly mean to him, which is meant to be a running joke but it wears thin pretty fast.

With that said, Eat Wheaties! is kept mostly entertaining thanks to its offbeat premise and decent performances. Hale is very good in this type of role, committing himself to his portrayal of a neurotic, eager to please character who tragically doesn’t always recognize his own social limitations. He ensures that Sid remains a somewhat endearing and sympathetic figure even as he inadvertently crosses lines in his constant messages to Banks.

Paul Walter Hauser also delivers fine comic work in a supporting role, stealing every scene as a lawyer with an online diploma that Sid reaches out to for representation. While the road getting there is a bit rough, Eat Wheaties! is an enjoyable enough film that reaches a genuinely satisfying conclusion.

Eat Wheaties! is now available to watch on a variety of Digital and VOD platforms. It’s being distributed in Canada by levelFILM.

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